Thomas M. Malaby

Thomas M. Malaby

Professor and Chair

Office: Sabin 290D
Phone: (414) 229-5247
Web Site:
Curriculum Vitae: pdf (43kb)


Ph.D., Harvard University

Research Interests:

Risk and contingency, modernity, games, technology, social theory, ritual, and performance.

Courses Taught:

Anthro 340: Cultures of Online Games and Virtual Worlds (online)
Anthro 744: Theories of Social Action - Understanding Agency and Social Structure - Sample Syllabus (pdf 110kb)
Anthro 803: Survey of Cultural Anthropology (History and Theory Proseminar) - Sample Syllabus (pdf 90kb)

Selected Publications:

2012 Digital Gaming, Game Design, and its Precursors. In Digital Anthropology, Daniel Miller and Heather Horst, eds. Pp. 288-305. Oxford: Berg.

2012 Our Present Misfortune: Games and the Post-Bureaucratic Colonization of Contingency. Social Analysis 56(2):103-116.

2012 Culture vs. Architecture: Second Life, Sociality, and the Human. In Games, Learning, and Society: Learning and Meaning in the Digital Age, Kurt Squire, Sasha Barab, and Constance Steinkuehler, eds. 229-243. Learning in Doing Series. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

2010 The Second Life of Institutions: Social Poetics in a Digital State. Anthropological Quarterly 83(2):355-372.

2009. Making Virtual Worlds: Linden Lab and Second Life. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Cornell Press Listing

2009. Anthropology and play: the contours of playful experience. New Literary History 40(1): 205-218.

2009. These great urbanist games: New Babylon and Second Life. Artifact 2(3): TBD.

2007. Beyond play: a new approach to games. Games & Culture 2(2): 95-113.

2007. Contriving constraints: the gameness of Second Life and the persistence of scarcity. Innovations: Technology | Governance | Globalization 2(3): 62-67.

2006. Parlaying value: Capital in and beyond virtual worlds. Games & Culture 1(2): 141-162.

2003. Gambling Life: Dealing in Contingency in a Greek City. University of Illinois Press. Illinois Press Listing